The Bruins enjoy giving back to their school and community through community service projects.
According to men’s basketball coach, Burton Uwarow, community service instills lifelong habits. He wants his team to be intentional in making a difference in the lives of others, no matter what. “Most of the truly worthwhile things in life require sacrifice,” Uwarow said.
The main purpose of service to others is to show Christ. Madi Rumfelt, a cross country runner, said, “We love to serve and show Christlikeness in all that we do.”
Projects can be a way of sharing the gospel. According to men’s basketball player, Chris Gray, community service allows Bruins teams to be Christian influences, help people in the community, open doors and share the Gospel all at once.
Service projects benefit both the teams and the individual athletes. Mention earlier in the article what kinds of service projects we’re talking about. Be specific.
Team bonding results from outreaches. Tyler Smith, golf player, said, “Nothing [builds teamwork] better than working together to accomplish a goal.”
But there is also a more personal benefit to community service. “I always feel like every time I serve, I get more than I give,” Rumfelt said. “I walk away feeling so blessed.”
Volleyball player Laura Gaston said, “[Serving] gives you an inner joy.”
Helping other people, even unfamiliar people, brings joy to the one helping, according to Gaston.
Last semester, the women’s volleyball team left campus to visit the Shepherd’s Care Center, an assisted living home.
The team socialized with the residents, organized a game of balloon volleyball, sang a few songs and handed out cards and bookmarks with Scripture written on them.
During the fall NCCAA National Tournaments hosted by BJU last fall, the women’s soccer team traveled to Camp Spearhead, a camp for individuals with disabilities, and helped the camp directors facilitate activities around the camp’s property.
Men’s soccer and women’s volleyball also participated in the national tournament community service outreaches.
The men’s team stayed on campus and collectively created banners, posters and cards to honor veterans.
The volleyball team went to the Piedmont Women’s Center and helped the staff there.
At the golf team’s national tournament, the team participated in the Good Samaritan Project.
This project gathered lower income community kids to a gym where the national tournament contestants worked together to wash the children’s feet and give them a new pair of shoes.
Over Christmas break, the men’s basketball team helped a local school and activity center around their properties by raking leaves and clearing brush.
The team also provided a portable basketball hoop and basketballs to a single parent with two boys who lives near Coach Uwarow.
According to Rumfelt, the cross-country team sometimes supports local high school track and cross-country events. They have also run alongside of the high schoolers for special events.
In addition to the team-oriented community service, the Bruins athletic trainer Taylor Ludy also heads up a Bruins-wide fundraiser. In the fall, Ludy organizes what she called “The Bruins Change Challenge.”
The different sports teams compete against each other to see who can gather the most change. The proceeds go to Operation Christmas Child, a branch of Samaritan’s Purse.
Operation Christmas Child sends shoeboxes filled with necessities and toys to kids around the world who would not normally get Christmas presents. Each box sent contains a tract with the gospel message.
Ludy wants to give the student-athletes a chance to participate in something that will be eternally rewarding.
The Bruins are consistently active in the community, and are seeking to further the gospel by being a light, and using their platform of sports for his glory, according to Ludy.